Located just north west of Castellina in Chianti, the ancient church that lends its etymology to the Piemaggio estate dates back to the XIIth century.   Owned and run by Larissa Karaban, the estate boasts some of the highest vineyards in the entire Chianti Classico appellation.  In fact, the name Piemaggio descends from a contraction of Pieve (church) and Maggiore (high atop a hill).

Despite its relatively small size,  Piemaggio farms only 12 hectares of vines,  Karaban feels that the altitude affects their Sangiovese in a special way.  As a result, Piemaggio typically releases their wines much later than the law would otherwise permit.  This is illustrated by the fact that the current vintage releases for the estate are the 2013 Classico and 2012 Riserva.  Karaban and winemaker Michele Neri feel that only when the wines have matured enough to represent Piemgaggio’s unique terroir should they be released.

The epitome of that philosophy rests in the very nature of today’s subject matter, which has only just been released, in a sense two to three vintages behind many other estates.

~ The commanding view of Piemaggio’s Vineyards high atop Castellina in Chianti. This was shortly after the 206 harvest was completed ~

Today we’re looking at the most recent release from the winery.  The 2013 Piemaggio Chianti Classico Le Fioraie is a deep, violet garnet color in the glass; very dark and very attractive to look at.   To my mind, this wine represents the soul of Sangiovese grown in Chianti Classico in admirable fashion. In a vintage that produced many uneven wines, the effort here from Piemaggio is that much more notable. Perhaps their decisions on extended cellaring before release makes a difference.

The aromas raise from the glass with minimal effort on the part of the taster. Fresh flowers, lavender, rosemary and crushed red berries are prominent. On the palate, there is no let up to the complexity and freshness in this wine. Juicy, ripe crushed cherry dominates the flavor from fore to aft with pipe tobacco, and fresh mushroom completing the picture. Solidly medium bodied, this 100% Sangiovese keeps your interest easily and paired exceptionally well with Pici in Pomodoro with a bit of ground pork and sage in the sauce. What’s not to like here?  91 points.  About $18 US.  This vintage is on its way to the US through Piemaggio’s new importer, so give it some time and you should be able to find it.  EU readers will have an easier time of locating it.

~ The “Flower Girls” shine again, in an uneven vintage ~


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